Review Nikon Nikkor 55mm 1: 1.2

According provided by Nikon Nikkor 55mm 1: 1.2 lens with serial number 368899 huge thanks to Anna.

Review Nikon Nikkor 55mm 1: 1.2

Review Nikon Nikkor 55mm 1: 1.2

The Nikon Nikkor 55mm 1: 1.2 is the first Nikon F-mount lens to feature a maximum aperture ratio of 1: 1.2. In 1978, it was replaced by the Nikon Nikkor 50mm 1: 1.2 AI, which in turn was replaced in 1981 by Nikon Nikkor 50mm 1: 1.2 AI-S (issued so far).

There were a lot of versions of Nikon Nikkor 55mm 1: 1.2:

  • Nippon Kogaku Japan Nikkor-S Auto 1: 1.2 f = 55mm, 1965-71. Optical design: 7 elements in 5 groups. The 'S' in the name stands for 'Septem', the seven lenses in the optical scheme of the lens. There were several modifications of this sub-version, the differences mainly concerned the diaphragm ring and the number of screws that fastened the bayonet.
  • Nikon Nikkor-S Auto 1: 1.2 f = 55mm, 1971-72. The same as the previous version, but with an updated name.
  • Nikon Nikkor-SC Auto 1: 1.2 f = 55mm1972-74. Multilayer enlightenment was added.
  • Nikon Nikkor 55mm 1: 1.2, 1974-77. So called 'K' or 'Nikon New' version. Unlike the previous ones, the design of the case has been greatly redone. Also, MDF became equal to 50 cm, in contrast to 60 cm in previous versions. In addition, the enlightenment has improved - the lens is applied Super Iintegrated Coating (the so-called Nikon DIH) This modification is presented in this review.
  • Nikon Nikkor 55mm 1: 1.2, Ai Version, 1977-78. Differs from the previous aperture ring. The lens was not subsequently updated to Ai-s version. The 55 / 1.2 line itself was replaced by 50 / 1.2 Ai lenses and AI-s.

In general, we can say that all modifications have the same optical scheme, only slightly different due to different enlightenment and different MDF. Versions from 1972 should be more resistant to flare and create a more contrasting image due to the presence of multilayer enlightenment. In special publications you can still find prototypes of some lenses, which may differ from those described.

There are still very rare Nippon Kogaku Japan Nikkor-O Auto 1: 1.2 f = 55mm (aka Oscillo-Nikkor, CRT Nikkor, Nikkor M = 1/5) with Leica M39 thread, created for special purposes and not related to the 50-55 / 1,2 mirror lens range.

Nikon Nikkor 55mm 1: 1.2

Nikon Nikkor 55mm 1: 1.2

Nikon Nikkor 55mm 1: 1.2 (K), from this review, is Non-ai lens and, without its alteration (AI-conversion), there will be problems when trying to install on certain CZK Nikon. Information on this issue, with an exact list of cameras that do not require alteration to install it, can be found in the section Pre-ai. The copy from this review has already passed AI-conversion and works on cameras without problems Nikon D80, Nikon AF N8008s и Nikon D700... How to use manual lenses on modern Nikon digital signal centers can be found in the section 'How to work with non-CPU lenses on modern Nikon central controllers'.

Nikon Nikkor 55mm 1: 1.2

Nikon Nikkor 55mm 1: 1.2

Nikon Nikkor 55mm 1: 1.2 is very well assembled, with a beautiful chrome insert ring, between the aperture control ring and the focus ring. The focus ring is rubberized and rotates approximately 230 degrees ( 50mm 1: 1.2 AI-S with this worse). MDF is 50 cm, and the maximum macro is 1: 7.3. The lens has marks for focusing distance in meters and feet, depth of field scale, mark for shooting in the infrared spectrum. The F numbers and DOF lines have different colors and correspond to each other, which is typical for older Nikkor lenses. Diaphragm has 7 petals, which affects the 'nuts' in the blur zone. Aperture closes to F / 16. The thread for the filters is the usual 52 mm. Such a lens weighs 410 grams.

Senior cameras correctly perceive and fit into EXIF aperture values: 1.2, 1.4, 2.0, 2.8, 4.0, 5.6, 8.0, 11.0, 16.0. On the lens itself, you can only find values ​​for 1.2, 2.0, 2.8, 4.0, 5.6, 8.0, 11.0, 16.0.

Nikon Nikkor 55mm 1: 1.2

Nikon Nikkor 55mm 1: 1.2 on the ZK

The fastest 'classic' Nikon lens for everyday shooting is the Nippon Kogaku Japan Nikkor-N Auto 1: 1.1 f = 5cm (and Nikkor-NC modification) for rangefinder cameras, created back in 1956. Nowadays, it is more of a collectible rarity than a real tool for creativity.

But the most aperture lens of all ever produced by Nikon is Nippon Kogaku Japan TV-Nikkor 1: 0.9 f = 35mm, created for fluoroscopy. It has no practical interest, for it is simply unrealistic to find. At the same time, more than 50 lenses were produced in the 55-1,2 / 400.000 series, and finding them on the secondary market is not difficult.

Oddly enough, modern Nikon SLR cameras lack F / 1.2 lenses (and lower) with auto focus. Of the available autofocus lenses and such aperture can only be called Nikon 1 Nikkor 32mm 1: 1.2 Nreleased for Nikon 1 Series system cameras only.

Nikon Nikkor 55mm 1: 1.2

Nikon Nikkor 55mm 1: 1.2

Nikon Nikkor 55mm 1: 1.2 can be used on full-frame and cropped cameras. On Nikon DX cameras EGF will be 82,5 mm, which is good for portrait photography. The lens is quite sharp in the center of the frame at f/1.2, but due to the low depth of field, chromatic aberrations (in particular strong freezing) and spherical aberrations, the image often seems too 'soft'. If you cover the aperture, then the image returns to normal. On open apertures, the edges and corners of the image suffer greatly from coma (light sources turn into a kind of umbrella). The lens normally tolerates back and side light, although, of course, it can catch glare. It has strong vignetting at f/1.2 (on FX cameras) and imperceptible distortion.

It is worth noting the bokeh of the lens. True, the circles of confusion, which are obtained from light sources in front of the zone of sharpness, are obtained with cropped edges (an example is in the gallery). On open diaphragms, ordinary seven-sided 'nuts' are obtained.

Here link to the archive with the originals —349 MB, 42 photos in format RAW, photo parameters in the gallery of the site and archive are indicated here.

Comments on this post do not require registration. Anyone can leave a comment. Many different photographic equipment can be found on AliExpress.

My experience
It is very difficult to work with F / 1.2, when sighting through JVI I only succeeded in every 5th shot. I used half a year Nikon Nikkor 50mm 1: 1.2 AI-Swhich I like better than version 55 / 1.2, however I sold it as it is only suitable for leisurely creative shooting. The difference in geometric aperture between F / 1.2 and F / 1.4 is only 1/3 stop (about 36%), whether such an increase in performance is needed - everyone must decide for themselves. Usually manual lenses of class 50-52-53-55-58 / 1.2 are bought for video shooting, where focusing is performed using the camera display. Considering that Nikon Nikkor 55mm 1: 1.2 (which at least turned 2014 years old in 36) costs the same as a new one Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm 1: 1.4G - I recommend the last one for purchase. Of course, those who know exactly why they need an F / 1.2 lens will be guided by other considerations :)

In Radozhiv you can still find an interesting article about all fifty fifty Nikon autofocus.


Nikon Nikkor 55mm 1: 1.2 is a super fast lens with good picture. A real 'creative lens'.

Material prepared Arkady Shapoval. Training/Consultations | Youtube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Telegram

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Comments: 30, on the topic: Review of Nikon Nikkor 55mm 1: 1.2

  • 10111

    IMHO this is still the same 50 / 1.4, only 1.2. The picture is almost identical ...

  • Artem

    Not so long ago I saw at the Ebay auction manual Nikon 58 mm f1.2 which went for 86 rubles! My life will never be the same :)

    • Hleb

      this optics has collectible value, so you should not expect from him a price less than what was said)

    • Igor

      These are lenses of a very limited series, only a few thousand of them were released and they were initially not cheap, recently Nikon released a new version of such a Noct-nikkor, it still costs prohibitive, this is for “connoisseurs”).

    • Eugene

      Fir-trees, for that kind of money you can provide yourself with lenses for all genres of shooting! :)

    • anonym

      58mm has a different optical design. Therefore, it gives a different picture in contrast to the classic fifty rubles. According to unverified information, the calculation of the optical scheme was carried out to obtain high quality at a fully open aperture for filming at dusk. This lens is called NoctNikkor. And in the old days it was 3-4 times more expensive than ordinary fifty dollars.

  • Denis Irkutsk

    Eh ... Beauty !!! Lens with a capital letter!
    Arkady, as always: you can’t tell us more! Thanks for the review!

  • Jury

    I have such a Nikkor 55 / 1.2 AI lens, I took it consciously in addition to the Nikkor 50 / 1.4g. The new one wins only because of the possession of af-s, well, maybe a little sharper with the open. I really like the picture with 55 / 1.2, and for portraits of sharpness at 1.2 I use it quite well with the D700.

  • um_nik

    Sharpness is probably not about this glass.

  • Michael..

    What 86 are we talking about ??? Maybe he was in a platinum frame ???

    • Arkady Shapoval

      It was about 58 1.2, there is a completely different lens and it costs its money.

      • anonym

        In the 80s, NoctNikkor 1 ″ 58 mm cost 800 bucks of that time.

  • Valery

    Good review! Thanks!!!

  • R'RёS,R ° F "RёR№

    Nikon 58 mm f1.2 which went for 86 000 rubles!

  • Yarkiya

    Arkady, thanks for the review. You write: MDF is 50 cm, and the maximum macro is 1: 7.3
    If you are not in a bummer, explain the ignoramus by what formula the macro multiplicity is calculated. I have autofocus macro rings and 105 mm macro. I'd like to know what multiplicity is obtained with different combinations of rings.
    Maybe one of the readers knows?

  • Paul

    I have such a lens. Excellent in every way. In my subjective opinion: at aperture of 2-2,8 it produces a picture with excellent detail and micro-contrast, with a “3D” effect a la Leica Summicron. Good detail. At 1,2 it is soft, but not soapy, the photos are interesting, although the grip is small at the same time. The bokeh is great in my opinion. And what I noticed is that it takes good care of the skin of the subject))

  • Andrei

    A good lens for creativity and more.
    It is good as a “purely creative tool” at open aperture and just as good for good, high-quality images from 2.8 aperture. (Two in one)
    Landscapes and portraits are cool, but I think it's clear that it is for leisurely, thoughtful work.

  • date

    u minia sluchiloas bida, ia razbil zadniu linzu obiektiva 55mm 1.1.2.
    mojet ktonibud znaet fokusni razmer eti linzi?

  • Anton

    Good time to all! There is a problem with sabzh (55 1.2 Ai): you need to lubricate the helicoid, or at least dilute the thickened native lubricant. Can anyone tell me how to do this myself? thanks

    • Taras

      I can try rose-like hairdressers and intensively with one look, and then turn to the other side. And it’s possible to choose, in manual lenses of complexity and dumbness, when you need more skin and eye-catching details and more photos and more than you can put tags more so you can endlessly re-pay for it

  • Michael

    I have such a lens in perfect condition and a complete set (2 caps, lens hood and tube). Ready to sell. Forwarding only in Russia.

  • Igor

    For sale:

    Nikon Nikkor-SC Auto 1: 1.2 f = 55mm

    Peter, shipment is possible in the Russian Federation.

    Price: 20 rubles.

    Nikon F100
    7 000 rubles.

  • Anton

    Hello. I wrote this about grease. Dismantled, cleaned, now everything is ok! At the same time, I adjusted it to infinity - some specimens have a small “flight”.
    By the way, I bought such an Ai version, in perfect condition for 11 rubles)
    It is interesting to compare it with the ancient 58 1.4

  • Andrei

    Full lens for connoisseurs
    I like to shoot portraits at 1.2, although many may possibly throw a stone at me for such excesses.
    But there is something to it.

  • anonym

    Good evening to you. Are you planning a review of NIKKOR 58mm f / 1.4G? Sincerely, amateur photographer.

    • Simon

      unless if you fork out for 150-200 thousand buppies.

  • Murad

    Ready to sell your 1.2 from the review. 20 thousand rubles with your delivery.

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